Stacy awarded by TEAC for excellence

Excellent teaching is a hallmark of any good department.  The Historical Studies Department in the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences is a department that excels in exceptional teaching.

Jason Stacy reads from his chapter in "Adventures in the Academy. photo courtesy of SIUE.

Carole Frick, professor and chair of historical studies, stated that four members of the department have won the Teaching Excellence award in the past; one of those members, twice.

The Teaching Excellence award is given out each year by the Teaching Excellence Award Committee (TEAC) which is comprised of students and faculty.  The award is the most prestigious teaching award given to professors at SIUE and comes with a $2,000 prize as part of the recognition given to the professor.

Jason Stacy, assistant professor of historical studies, is this years recipient of the award.  Frick, who nominated Stacy last year and again this year, stated that Stacy has all of the qualities that an award winner should have.

“He’s a triple threat,” said Fricke.  “[To win this award] You have to be a great teacher.  You have to have scholarship, publish things.  He publishes like crazy, articles, books, all this stuff. Then the third threat is service.  In every single area, he is excellent.”

Stacy teaches history and pedagogy.  The pedagogy course is one class that Frick believes Stacy shows off his talent for teaching.  A method Stacy uses in this class allows a students to give a lesson that he or she prepared in front of their classmates.  Stacy said that he encourages the other students to act out, as if they were high school students.

“The majority of the class [History 323 – social science pedagogy] is them practicing lessons that they have created for other students.  But those other students, I ask them to act as though they were 16-year-old children.  Sometimes there are classroom management issues,” said Stacy.  “The teacher then has to think about not only what am I going to teach but who are my students, and how will this particular lesson and this particular strategy work with these students.”

According to Frick, who has sat in on, and participated in, several of these sessions, Stacy becomes part of the 16-year-old class.  Frick said that Stacy joins in but is very good about stopping the class at crucial moments in order to get all of the students to discuss all of the aspects, good and bad, about the performance.  In this way, Stacy uses his classes as a safe environment for the students to practice.

“As much as possible, I encourage my students to think about helping me to build the class because many of the questions that I ask them are the kinds of questions that teachers themselves ask themselves,” said Stacy.

Frick stated that Stacy is willing to take chances to help his students learn from the lectures and in class discussions.  Frick believes that Stacy learned how to teach pedagogy from his experiences teaching in the Chicago Public Schools.  Stacy, for his part, states that he sees classes as something that the students and teachers build together, a system that he believes SIUE promotes in

“I think one of the hall marks of teaching here at SIUE is our student-centered approach,” said Stacy.  “I think one of the ways in which we are student-centered is the we encourage our students to engage the material as though they were fellow scholars.”

In an email announcing Stacy as the recipient, it is stated that “Dr. Stacy impressed the committee with his “assignments… in-class presentations… [his ability ]to help students become critical thinkers… and [he] exhibited a deep respect for [his] students and their ideas while maintaining high expectations.”  Stacy said that he feels honored that the committee saw that he encourages his students to join him in the learning process.

Stacy, who wrote about his own experiences as a student in a chapter of “Adventures in the Academy”, said that in his own education, he was very disconnected from school.  He states that his education allows him to be very sympathetic to students who may feel like he did as a student. Stacy hopes that he is able to open up the students to the limitless possibilities of education.

“I discovered when I started teaching that the world of ideas was actually very interesting for me–limitless–both personally and professionally very rewarding” said Stacy.  “So, I know my students have that potential in them, not necessarily for teaching or learning, but for something in their lives, something that will capture them and make their professional life and their personal life the same thing, mutually rewarding.”

Frick said that Stacy is the representative that anyone would be proud to put up as an example for SIUE, but that he is modest.

“He’s very, very modest.  But he can be modest because he’s excellent. He has nothing to prove.  He is generous with his time.  He’s always nice to everybody,” said Frick.  “He takes huge risks.  He’s willing to play the fool, because he has nothing to lose.  He doesn’t have an ego.  He’s so confident in what he is doing.”

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